I believe most Christians are honest in their attempt at explaining difficult issues that come out of the interaction between the Bible and science. However, I also believe that in their desire to be faithful to the teachings of Scriptures, people may develop answers that are not Scriptural.
Take for instance, the question asked by someone who probably is a faithful Christian who has a desire to relate her faith to the scientific evidence available to her (or him). Here is the question:
Question: Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible? Fossil remains prove they existed; what happened?
The answer to this question was provided by Dr. Tom Lovorn, pastor of God’s Storehouse Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. I do not doubt the sincerity of pastor Lovorn’s answer. However, his answers are based on theories that when examined in the light of Scriptures, will be found not to be Scriptural.
Here is part of his answer:
Answer: There are two strange animals described in the last chapters of the book of Job. Even today, Bible scholars are puzzled over the behemoth in chapter 40 and the leviathan in chapter 41. As you read Job 40, you may think behemoth may have been a wooly mammoth, an elephant, or a hippo; but none of these really match behemoth’s description. It sounds like an ancient dinosaur. Stories of these lingered long after their probable destruction with the Flood.
Likewise, we’re not sure what leviathan was. Guesses are that it may have been a crocodile, a whale, or an extinct sea monster. But, if there were such a thing as a fire-breathing dragon, then chapter 41 describes one! Isaiah 27:1 supports my theory. Leviathan is also mentioned in Psalms 74 and 104. Outside of the Revelation, there are 22 biblical references to dragons. Many of these may be describing varieties of dinosaurs. Many earth scientists ascribe the demise of “prehistoric” animals to the impact of a tremendous meteor, but no crater or remains of such have been found. The Bible gives a better answer in the Biblical Flood. Genesis 1:6-7 tells of the dividing of waters below and above the firmament of earth’s atmosphere. The waters above the firmament formed a vapor canopy which would be a natural shield from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and cause a greater air pressure. Under those circumstances plants and animals could grow much larger, and giant winged reptiles could fly in heavier air.
I subscribe to the young earth age theory the Bible implies. The same archaeological evidence that proves dinosaurs existed also proves man was upon the earth then. Footprints of humans and dinosaurs appear in the same rock strata; and, at least in one instance, a man’s footprint is inside a dinosaur’s print. If, in Job 40:15, behemoths are dinosaurs as they appear to be, then that verse clearly says they were created at the same time as man, not in an earlier age.
The “canopy theory” is not biblical and does not explain the extinction of the dinosaurs. The “canopy theory” also does not explain the presence of behemoth and leviathan in the Old Testament. One of these days I will write a post on the “canopy theory” and show its many fallacies.
In the mean time, how can we best answer the question asked by this searcher of truth? First and foremost, the answer must be that dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible because they became extinct many years before human beings appeared on this earth.
Second, the existence of dinosaurs does not contradict the teachings of the Bible and does not take away from the truth that the God of the Bible is the creator of all things.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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